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Thin Film light-trapping enhanced Quantum Dot photovoltaic cells: an enabling technology for high power-to-weight ratio space solar arrays (TFQD)

With TFQD we aim at developing a new generation of high-efficiency thin-film photovoltaic devices for future solar arrays, by exploiting cross-cutting Key Enabling Technologies as: advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, photonics. The core device is a thin-film III-V solar cell embedding quantum dots and nanophotonic gratings to boost the efficiency beyond the thermodynamic limit of conventional single-junction devices. Combining the thin-film approach with the nanostructuring of semiconductor layers allows for a drastic improvement of power-to-weight ratio and mechanical flexibility with respect to currently available space solar cells.  The incorporation of quantum dots provides improved radiation and temperature hardness.

The TFQD device targets efficiency higher than 26% AM0 (30% AM1.5G), at least an eight-fold increase of power-to-weight ratio vs. triple junction III-V solar cells and very low bending radius, allowing for the development of rollable or inflatable solar arrays.

Demonstration up to TRL4 will be carried out through on ground testing under representative in orbit conditions over a set of 44 prototypes of area of 1 cm^2.

The consortium includes four academic partners having a strong position in modelling, epilayer growth and development and manufacturing of thin-film III-V solar cells, a SME able to quickly implement the new technology in their thin-film solar cell production line, and a company that is a European leader in satellite systems as early adopter of the developed devices to boost innovation in space solar panels.

On account of wafer reuse and simplicity of the epitaxial structures, the TFQD solar cells are less expensive than the current state-of-the-art multi-junction solar cells, thus also important impact potential on terrestrial applications, as first in concentrating photovoltaic systems, is foreseen.


Project Facts


Grant Agreement No. 687253

Total cost: EUR 1 008 376,25
EU contribution: EUR 1 008 376,25

Duration: 36 months, from 2016-01-01 to 2018-12-31

Funding scheme: RIA – Research and Innovation action

Call for proposal: H2020-COMPET-2015

Topic: COMPET-03-2015 – Bottom-up space technologies at low TRL

Coordinator: Prof. Federica Cappelluti, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Email: